President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh struck what both leaders called an historic agreement Thursday to provide U.S. nuclear power assistance to India in exchange for new inspections of India's civilian nuclear facilities.
This is an brilliant foreign policy initiative, made with a country we ought to be very good friends with. India is an amazing place. I've only seen it once, but that was fascinating by itself. I have also worked directly with a number of Indian business folks and helped operate a Hyderabad-based software shop. The people I worked with were uniformly bright, competent and successful.
Signing a nuclear energy pact does a number of things beyond bettering our relations with India, which is definitely a good thing. It also shows that when we negotiate with potential nuclear states, and offer the possibility of real US help with nuke energy, it can actually happen. Granted India already has the bomb, but substantive diplomatic deals in this arena are rare and this demonstrates they can be achieved.
It also gives us the opportunity to show the 137 million Muslims living there that partnership in the Great Satan Power coop may not be the worst thing. The Dubai ports idiocy has shown that some element of xenophobia exists on the left as well as the right, and the more we engage with moderate Muslims the sooner we can fix that. Increasing our interactions with India and all it's varied peoples, can do wonders with our improperly, awful image in developing countries. Nations that genuinely yearn for prosperity could do no better than following India's lead of freedom, tolerance and democracy.
This is also proof that you don't have to love us to play nice with us. Overall attitudes toward America regarding foreign policy there aren't much better than the rest of the world, but start talking economy, technology, and standard of living and the love starts to flow.
W sorely needed some good news and this is not a wag of the dog. This is a very smart, very strategic move which we should follow up with concrete demonstrations of why it's good to be our friend. I think we have established definitively that it sucks to be our enemy, time to show we didn't really want to kick anyone's ass. Let's get some projects underway, and show we are sweetness & light, and the milk of human kindness really does flow through our veins. Can't hurt!
- Uncle J